Officials with the Utah Department of Workforce Services on Wednesday, May 7 announced the creation of a $6 million STEMLink grant program to be awarded to schools for in-school and after-school STEM classes.
The grants are funded by the Department of Workforce Services through a combination of job growth and Temporary Aid to Needy Families, or TANF, funds. The grants will focus on underserved populations with the goal of equipping individuals with employable skills and lifting families out of a cycle of poverty.
There is a growing need for workers with science and technology skills, and school-based experiences will help students consider STEM careers. Jeffrey Nelson, president of Nelson Laboratories and chairman of the STEM Action Center board, said many students don’t consider a career in science or engineering until they’re able to see the practical application of that knowledge. “Kids, a lot of times these days, underestimate what they’re capable of,” Nelson said. “I really believe that anybody can be successful.”
STEMLink grants will help more students get involved with science, technology, engineering and math, Nelson said, and eventually qualify them for careers in the burgeoning technology sector.
“If you can take what is a great strength of our state, this strong student population, and if we can help just some of them get into these types of fields, I think it helps the kids, I think it helps the economy, and I think it helps the companies,” Nelson said.
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